Live Review: Black Francis at The Triple Door 8/2

photos by Jim Bennett
review by Jim Beckmann

I’m guessing that if you’re a Pixies fan, you already got your tickets to one — or more — of their shows coming up this fall. There’s certainly been enough fanfare about it, especially since they’re performing their 1989 breakthrough, Doolittle, in its entirety. I don’t think as many people are aware of frontman Black Francis‘ current tour of shows both solo acoustic and with his wife, Violet Clark, as Grand Duchy. That’s not to say that his recent show that The Triple Door was under attended… it wasn’t and was in fact sold out… but it seemed improbable that in the wake of all the recent publicity you could find him at such an intimate venue as The Triple Door, with all its “class up the ass” as he said. While BF’s class assessment should normally come under question once he told the audience how he was wearing a dirty black t-shirt because it was more comfortable and had Sharpied out the bleach spots on his black pants, the venue spoke for itself with its dark moody stage, candle-lit dinners and two hours of Black Francis performing songs from his solo and Pixies albums.

And Frank covered quite a range, singing about olive gardens, Freddy Fender, shrimp, Dutch painter Herman Brood, and whatever “Nimrod’s Son” is about (“I’m not sure,” he said, “but people seem to like it”) all while chatting about his wardrobe, dropping obscure pop culture references, and generally just being in a congenial mood.

A sequence like this, with the fairly recent “When They Come to Murder Me” and the somewhat rare tune “The Water” bookending the Pixies song “Crackity Jones” (and no, it’s not a medley) show Black Francis’ willingness to pull any rabbit out of the hat:

No performing monkey, he still managed to keep the setlist fairly loose and meet certain audience requests like these two, for “Headache” and “Gouge Away”:

Encores aren’t usually part of Black Francis’ repertoire and tonight was no exception, but with a full two-hour set, with closer “Where Is My Mind,” it was impossible not to be fully satisfied. Hell, I’m happy about the Pixes at the Paramount in November, but if the world should end between now and then, I’ll be perfectly happy having seen this set of new and old alike.

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